It is the first time that Belgian company CMI Defence adapts one of its turret for a naval application. The Tank Boat incorporates the CMI Defence Cockerill® 3105 high pressure 105mm weapon system aboard an advanced composite catamaran hull specifically designed by PT Lundin and PT Pindad. It provides navies and coastal forces with unmatched capability. The X18 would hardly be the first tank boat. Starting in the 1930s and going into World War II, Soviet Russia experimented with heavier armed river boats, using already-made tank turrets as the turrets for their riverine vessels. Not just experiments, these ships saw battle, participating in fights on the Black Sea and the Baltic sea. During WWII, the U.S. Navy tried putting tank turrets on landing craft, but found the guns were too heavy and the boat engines too weak. With modern construction techniques, and 70 years of development since, it’s unlikely the X18 will have these problems.
To adapt the proven Cockerill 3105 high pressure 105mm weapon system (already fitted for example on 8×8 IFV), CMI had to apply an anti-corrosion coating, fit additional sealing gaskets and use marine specific cables and connectors. Fully stabilised, accurate by day or night, and able to use a wide range of NATO standard 105mm ammunition, this weapon system directly engages a broad spectrum of targets at up to 5,000m range, and indirectly engages targets to 10,000m range. The 105mm is also capable of firing the Cockerill Falarick 105 Gun Launched Anti-Tank Guided Missile (GLATGM). Elevating to +42° the weapon delivers exceptional engagement capability in complex situations, and the GLATGM permits hard and Point target to be engaged at extended ranges (up to 5 km).The Tank Boat is fitted with a BAE Systems Bofors LEMUR remote weapon station, 2x PASEO electro-optic systems by Safran (Sagem) including one on the LEMUR RWS, and a navigation radar by Transas. All these systems are fitted on top of the 105mm turret.
According to PT Lundin, the X18 Tank Boat is an innovative, fast, stealthy, and highly maneuverable catamaran design that provides a stable weapons platform for close-in and long range direct fire support in normally inaccessible coastal and riverine environments. The X18 features a catamara hull made of infused vinyl ester composite. It has a length overall of 18.00m, beam of 6.10m and draught of 1.00m. Propulsion is achived via 2 x MAN 1200HP engines and 2 x MJP450 Waterjets. The twin hull configuration has excellent sea keeping properties and the added advantage of shallow draft. Giving it the ability to execute beach and river landings and insert or extract squads of up to 20 Special Forces or Marines. The X18 Tank Boat has a crew of 6, and will also carry a High-speed Interdiction RIB for boarding and SEAL insertion. Maximum speed is 40 knots.
Indonesia consists of over 18,307 islands, and ships and marines figure heavily in its defense. A ship that can operate closely with ground forces and provide heavy gun support would be an ideal addition to the Indonesian military. The lethality of the Cockerill® 105mm gun combined with the maneuverability, speed and stealth of the platform give the Tank Boat® a peerless capability to operate unrestricted in the littoral environment. This is the first time that any company has conceived of mounting this type of system aboard a small, fast and stealthy catamaran that with only a 1 meter draught makes it ideally suited for the confines of coastal waterway operation. Tank Boat could operate in island chains, riverine deltas, off shallow water coastlines, and urban areas adjacent to the sea. Its shallow .8 meter draught means it can get very close to shore without running aground. Capable of sailing at up to 30 knots and blasting targets with a 105-millimeter gun, it’s officially named the X-18 Fire Support Vessel. For obvious reasons, everyone—including the manufacturer—just calls it “Tank Boat”.